a memory called empire, arkady martine
it is my own fault i didn't love this because i wanted it to be a murder mystery in a scifi imperial setting instead of the high stakes diplomatic political thriller it really was (the term thriller here used loosely). i loved loved the idea of trying to solve the murder of your political predeccessor, with the help of the victim's own consciousness layered and imposed over your own- with the caveat of their digital consciousness being 15 years out of date, almost entirely disconnected from the person they would later become.
i found the imago technology to be so interesting (the integration of memory and lineage and history and technology and then the fragility and importance of preserving all that knowledge is sooooooooo) and i know in retrospect the plot intentionally unfolds the way it does because mahit's imago breaks, and it has to break because thats the whole thing, but i was disapointed it didn't feature more prominently, i would have been really interested to see a kind of dual/duelling narration play out.
it also pains me to say that the lesbian romance did not interest me in the slightest :( the brief chapter with the anti-monarchist/ back alley surgery/cyberpunk anarchists did interest me very much though, as did the surveillance city with its omnipotent algorithms and hive mind collective city police, and the emperor's clone heir. anyway ! 3 chapters in I had already envisioned what kind of story I wanted it to be and it did fall flat of my expectations for that, but I also never properly gave it a chance to be the kind of story it actually was. maybe I will revisit!
the sparrow, mary doria russell
i need to read this again in a year or so bc it just! didn't click for me!
white noise (2022)
'postmodern film about an airborne toxic event featuring andre3000' was a very tantalising combination of words that did not quite live up to its promise and was honestly really quite underwhelming. not weird enough! not postmodern enough! didn't even play around with the chronology! very cinematic though! absolutely killer first scene of an academic lecture on car crashes in american cinema and culture, even thought I'm sure it was probably at least somewhat mocking the kinds of people who would enjoy that kind of thing (me).